Greg Hunt the Federal Environment Minister and Rob Stokes, the NSW Environment Minister held a press conference at the Randwick Golf Club at Malabar on Thursday 18 March (Malabar Headland in the background) to announce that the Eastern Bush would be made into a National Park.

Representatives of the horse riding community were present. However the Friends of Malabar Headland, who have worked tirelessly for 14 years to protect the Eastern Bush from both human development and invasive weeds, were not invited.

Leesha McKenny then wrote an article for the Sydney Morning Herald.

Friends of Malabar Headland Chairperson David Pyett issued a statement in response to the announcement:

We cautiously welcome the latest announcement, but we remain skeptical until we see documented proof of a commitment of money in the budget to build a new Shooting Range elsewhere and to move the shooters to their new site. Nothing will happen to the Eastern Bush until the shooters have gone, as the Eastern Bush forms part of the Safety Template for the Shooting Range. That means that it will not become a National Park any time soon; Greg Hunt is fully aware of this fact.

At the moment, the Shooters have a licence to shoot at any time, seven days per week, between 9am and 5pm. The Commonwealth – landowner of Malabar Headland – have repeatedly told us that the Eastern Section of bush cannot be handed over as National Park until the Shooters have moved; indeed they have banned our group from weeding in the Eastern bush on days when there is no shooting, as per our previous arrangement for 14 years.

We were not invited to attend this morning’s announcement.

Note: On a target shooting range, the safety template is the area behind and adjacent to the targets that stray or ricocheting bullets might enter. When the range is in use, no one can safely enter the safety template.

At Malabar Headland, the operational range is the long, full bore range on the northern side of the site. The safety template of this range extends east, north and south of the targets. It includes the scenic walking track along the coast from South Maroubra to Magic Point and the beautiful bushland to the west of the track – that is, some of the finest bushland and most magnificent scenery in the proposed national park land.

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